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Cheap Ways to Feed Your Family

Aug 17, 2007
While groceries often are not the biggest problem in a tight budget, they are one of the areas many families focus on first because grocery shopping must be done so often. And in many cases cuts can be made with relatively little trouble. Here are some ideas.

1. Eat vegetarian meals sometimes.

Meat costs more than many other ingredients. While most people aren't ready to go vegetarian all the time, eating this way once or twice a week (or more) can save some pretty good money. There are many delicious recipes for vegetarian meals. And of course these tend to be quite healthy as well.

2. Keep an eye out for bargains on food and have a place to store extra.

This includes using coupons and watching store flyers. Have an extra freezer? Store meat you buy on sale in it. Figure out a place to store extra of other ingredients.

A good way to know if you're seeing a good price is to keep written track of prices. A small notebook in your purse can help you figure it out, without trying to remember each and every price. After you've been watching prices a while you'll have a general idea what most things should cost, but with your notebook you'll know more precisely.

Buying extra can be tough on the budget if things are really tight, but if you can manage it you can save quite a bit of money in the long run.

3. Think carefully before buying prepackaged foods. Many of these cost more than it would to make from the ingredients yourself, and may not be that hard to do. The Internet is a wonderful resource when you're looking for recipes.

Sometimes prepackaged foods can be worth it financially speaking. However you may want to pay attention to their nutritional value as well and decide if you want to use them.

4. Know how to compare prices between brands of the same product.

Most stores will show the price per ounce or other unit right there on the shelf. Store brands generally cost less and still taste good. In some cases they can even be made by the same company as the name brand. But make sure that you really are getting the best deal by considering any coupons you may have for the name brand items.

5. Make the most of leftovers.

It's all too easy to let leftovers spoil in the refrigerator. If you remember to eat them, that's money that is not going into the trash. Leftovers can make good lunches, especially for family members eating away from home. If there's enough left over, they could be dinner for a second night or be frozen and served at a later date.

6. Don't assume the largest size is the best deal.

There are two factors to consider here. The first is the cost per unit. The largest size is often the cheapest, but in-store sales and coupons can sometimes make the smaller sizes the best deal. Think before you buy.

The second factor depends on how long the food will last. If it won't spoil and the large size is the best deal, go for it. But if it might go bad, think about how much you will actually use or if there's a way to freeze the excess.

7. Consider buying a bread maker.

I love my bread machine. Throw in the ingredients and let it run! The bread is much cheaper than what I could buy at the store, and it tastes wonderful. If you can't afford to buy one, mention it the next time someone wants to know what to get you for a gift. They're pretty affordable these days.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about being a stay at home mom. If you need more tips on saving money , visit her site.
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